Death of man pinned under car ruled a homicide

Death of man pinned under car ruled a homicide
Kyen Knowles (Image: Family)
Kyen Knowles (Image: Family)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The death of a man who was run over and pinned under his car in Kalihi has been reclassified as a homicide, and the Medical Examiner's Office now says he was shot at, but not hit by a bullet.

Kyen Knowles, 36, was killed by the weight of his car – suffocation and mechanical asphyxia – the Medical Examiner's Office said on Friday.

Aaron Hunger is a criminal justice instructor and a former police officer who investigated crashes in Florida and California.

"It's very common for investigations, especially in the preliminary stages, to begin focusing on one thing and after looking at all of the evidence, refocusing on something else," Hunger said.

Despite initial calls reporting an assault, the bizarre case was labeled as a car accident soon after it happened Wednesday afternoon.

Police later began investigating it as a possible shooting after witness accounts and surveillance video appeared to show a man firing a gun at Knowles before he fell out of his car onto Waterhouse Street near Gulick Avenue.

The Medical Examiner's Office autopsy confirms, Knowles was shot at, but not actually hit.

Hunger said it is not unusual for officers to not realize a shooting took place right away.

"If it was a shooting in conjunction with some type of vehicular incident, then it's not uncommon for the trauma that's caused by the vehicle to mask whatever trauma is caused by a bullet, especially if the bullet is a small caliber."

Police have not released any information on a possible suspect, but on Friday they reclassified the case from an unattended death to second degree murder.

Knowles lived in Honolulu and is the father of three young children.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.